Iron Crow Theatre is a bastion for the queer community in the Baltimore area. Their performances “explore and celebrate that which is queer” rather than define the term for others. It also encourages their audiences to “engage in a dialogue about what it means to be an American.”
Aas part of Iron Crow’s Season of Defiance, the final production and big fundraiser is their perennial favorite, “The Rocky Horror Show,” (and Pride edition) created by Richard O’Brien, directed by Iron Crow’s artistic director, Sean Elias. (Read Emily Hofstaedter’s review here.)
The fine cast includes Nicholas Miles (Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter), Jake Stibbe (Brad Majors), Allison Fitzgerald (Janet Weiss), Brain Dauglash (Rocky), Christian Gonazlez (Riff-Raff), Hana Clarice (Magenta), Macaela Oliverio (Columbia), Alana Knobel (Eddie/Dr. Scott), Timoth David Copney (Narrator), Brooke Donald (Phantom), Kaitlin Harbin (Phantom), and Kristen Stickley (Phantom).
The rest of the creative team includes Eros Da Artiste (Musical Director), Unissa Cruse (Choreography), Ava Burckhardt (Costume Design), Thomas Jenkeleit (Set Design) and Jaeden Arrington (Lighting Design).
If you don’t know what “The Rocky Horror Show” is about, you need to be prepared for lots of audience interaction. It is based on the 1975 film, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a cult classic that follows two sweethearts that come upon strange mansion during a storm when they get a flat tire. There they not only lose their innocence but meet a variety of strange characters via songs and dance numbers.
There is even some on-stage seating in this production and each ticket holder will receive a prop bag and call-out script. Great fun! One lucky member of the audience will even able to purchase a “special interactive experience” during Act II.
I had a chance to interview Nicolas Miles (Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter) and find out about this production and the Iron Crow Theatre.
Nicholas Miles: Iron Crow Theatre Resident Artist. Nicholas is delighted to return to Iron Crow Theatre after previously starring in the award-winning and critically acclaimed productions of “Mankind” (OBGYN), “A New Brain” (Nurse), “The Laramie Project” (Various), and Iron Crow Theatre’s annual production of “The Rocky Horror Show” (3x Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter, 1x Narrator). Previous theatre credits include “Beehive, Mr. Burns: A PostElectric Play,” “The Secret Garden,” and “Titanic.” Nicholas is a 2016 graduate of the Honors Acting Conservatory at the esteemed Theatre Lab in Washington, D.C., and is a proud member of Iron Crow Theatre’s Board of Directors.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Well, I’m a Baltimore transplant. I was born and raised in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a little town south of Nashville. I moved away for college to the University of Missouri, Columbia, where I received a BS in marketing and a minor in Biology. After that, I went to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, for a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and eventually wound up in DC, working at Georgetown University Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. While in DC, I decided to try out improv at the Washington Improv Theater, which reinvigorated my childhood love for the stage. So, I took a chance and auditioned for the Theatre Lab School’s Honors Acting Conservatory in 2016. After that, I’ve been working and auditioning in the DMV/Baltimore area. I moved up to Baltimore, though, in 2017 to escape the high cost of living in DC, which isn’t at all suitable for an actor trying to make it. Now that I’ve been here in Baltimore for almost six years, I absolutely love it. It truly is a charming city.
This is your third turn as Frank ‘N’ Furter in the show. Can you tell us about the role, including how you prepared for it?
Well, Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter is literally just a sweet transvestite. He’s an alien from another world that came to Earth with a purpose, and that purpose was simple: to expand our minds. During the show, he encourages, entices, and empowers Brad and Janet—the young couple that finds themselves at his front door needing assistance due to a flat tire—to discover themselves, by guiding them to surrender to their absolute pleasures hidden within. It’s a big role to play, especially for me. I didn’t know anything about the show or its traditions growing up in a Black, Southern Baptist household. So, when I first got the call back from Iron Crow Theater for the role in 2016, I went in blind, meaning—and I hate to admit this!!!—I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t read the play beforehand or even watch the movie. Fortunately, I befriended another actor at the callback who took some time to fill me in on the role. “Be the biggest drag queen you can think of,” she suggested. And lo and behold, I did and got the role. Now, the preparation was tricky. Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter is a creature that exists without any self-doubt. He’s 100% confident at all times. So, I had to embody that ideology, and believe you me, it was difficult. But this is why I love the role so much. It’s hard to explain, but by stepping into his shoes in the rehearsal space and on stage, you then start seeing yourself more confident, more empowered, and more certain. It’s a beautiful byproduct of acting.
Your bio states you are a Resident Artist of the Iron Crow Theatre. What do you most enjoy about working with them?
Iron Crow Theatre is a theatre that truly reflects the community it serves. It’s located in Baltimore, and it employs Baltimoreans. It’s inclusive and truly representative of the people who live and love here. It’s avant-garde and takes risks to put on truly phenomenal and unconventional shows that have real meaning. It’s been wonderful for me.
“The Rocky Horror Show” is known for its interaction with the audience. Have you had any memorable interactions with the audience that you can share?
Surprisingly, the best audience interaction I have is at the end of the show where I get to meet and greet the audience. That’s where I get to feel the impact of how powerful our performances are. It’s always great to hear audience members comment on how unique our version of the show is, especially when compared to the classic movie version featuring Tim Curry.
Is there a role you would like to do in the future at Iron Crow or any theatre?
Well, I would really enjoy stepping into the role of writer. lol. I’ve never written a play, but I would love to write one focused on Baltimore and housing. Baltimore has a deep, dark history in housing violence towards minorities, and I’d love to write a play around those stories, which often go untold.
Don’t miss this great show and support the Iron Crow Theatre and its mission. “The Rocky Horror Show” runs weekends through June 17, 2023 at Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. For more information and tickets, go to this link. To find out more about Nicholas Miles, go to his website.